Growing up photographs never mattered to me. At least not in the sense that they do today. I wasn’t one of those kids who refused to be in a picture, but I would take my place, smile, and be done with it. I was always so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I didn’t realize that power that photography had on me until much later. Flash forward to my high school years. I spent a majority of my time reading and then recording embarrassing vlogs on my video camera. (Don’t worry these never saw the light of day.) My friends all had a camera and would spend time editing photos and posting them on Myspace and Facebook. I was always just there watching as they did their thing, I was an observer, not someone who wished to even hold a camera in my hands. My boyfriend at the time is someone that I credit tremendously for my love of a camera and my appreciation for all that a camera can do.
He began getting into photography seriously, and I encouraged him to pursue it as a degree in college even though it didn’t seem like the most secure future. Through him I began helping with his shoots, I modeled, acted as a second shooter, came up with creative ideas, took photos of him, learned how to edit, and realized how special a camera was all along.
Even as I helped my boyfriend I wasn’t all about photography. I enjoyed seeing how happy it made him and I always listened when he discussed technical terms with me, nodding, smiling, making note, and then helping him to buy the equipment he wanted for birthday, Christmas, and anniversary presents. It wasn’t until I began to travel in a very real and serious sense that I become enamored with photography. Growing up I always wanted to be a novelist. Nothing else was in my sights. I wanted to read, write, and publish books. In essence, I was an avid collector of experiences, mine, and others’. Towards the end of high school, something inside me shifted and I felt this undeniable need to be out there seeing the world. I knew the only way for me to do this was to travel so I began saving up to do just that.
I began going to different places. Costa Rica, Scotland, England, Ireland, and all over the United States. I wrote about my experiences, but I found that the photographs taken from my travels were what truly moved me. I’m sure we all have heard the quote, “A photograph is a return ticket to a moment that is already gone.” This was what I found. My memories, my experiences, could all be preserved within a photograph, and I could bring life to the things only I could see and feel by writing about the photograph. I began to use the photos I had taken, and the ones that my boyfriend had taken of me and I crafted our journey.
This is such a powerful concept. Photography offers us so much than we realize on a surface level. It gives us the ability to create emotion, stories, and experiences. With a camera, you can inspire people, make them laugh, cry, smile, and yearn. Now, I base so much of my life off of photographs. For the last two and a half years, I have extensively traveled through the United States in my tiny Ford Focus. I was able to see places I had always dreamed about. I planned all of my trips through photographs. My routes were determined by images I had seen and knew I had to experience for myself. You can see a photo of somewhere thousands of times, but nothing compares to seeing it with your own two eyes. Photographs taken by others motivated me to get my ass out there and see what it’s all about. Photographs urged me to find my own pockets of happiness in the world and share those findings with others.
The power that we have with the push of a button is astonishing. I have always been big on remembering your past as you attempt to navigate your future. Photos allow me to do this. I find myself sitting on a rainy day going through the moments I have had, smiling, and reflecting on all that I have gained and lost throughout the years and knowing that no matter what life will go on. This art changed the way I felt about so much and I am so very glad that it did. It’s brought me close with some pretty amazing people, and I urge you all to take a step back and look at the art that you do from a renewed perspective. Whether it is photography, modeling, photography, fashion design, makeup, etc. Own it, love it, and appreciate the lives you can forever change with your art.
Share with us how you fell in love with photography in the comments below! Needing the inspiration to create? Check out our recent article HERE